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Operating System (101)
Books have been written on these, so briefly... The Operating System (OS) while technically itself is software, it is more a liaison between you, your software (applications) and hardware (keyboard, mouse, cameras, printers, etc.). Without an OS, you have useless hardware.
There are a variety of Operating Systems, e.g., Windows, Unix, Linux, MAC OS and others. Each having a many different versions and releases. Microsoft's Windows versions (but not all) include:
- 1980's - (pre-Windows) MS DOS, 1.0, 2.0 (and others)
- 1990 - Windows 3 and 3.1 (supporting networks)
- 1995 - 95
- 1998 - 98
- 2000 - ME
- 2001 - XP (SP1, SP2, SP3)
- 2006 - Vista
- 2009 - 7
- 2012 - 8, 8.1
- 2015 - 10
Never downgrade a computer's OS
As the industry moves forward with newer hardware and operating system, older hardware becomes obsolete, example; older printers may not work on newer computers - Period.
We had a good working HP Laserjet 3390 Fax/Copier/Printer with the extra trays, but had to replace it as HP does not offer software/drivers for Windows 7.
Manufacturers simply do not (re)write software and/or drivers for old hardware.
The point is, if you install an older operating system, say Windows 7 on a computer that came with Windows 10, you may very well be left with a computer that does not work properly since the hardware (video, sound system, processor, etc.), will not have drivers available.
Again, an entire book (or two) could be dedicated to this so just some basics below.
- Corruption (unfortunately, all too common) and not just a
Windows problem but all OSs...
- Over the years we've seen a lot of computer with corruption from hardware problems, viruses, Windows updates and sometimes, just out of the blue. Assuming it's not from a virus or update AND the computer still starts, you should be able to run some troubleshooting. If it does not, your only alternative may be a factory restore.
- Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) are fatal errors that completely prohibit the computer from running properly. Follow our link for more information on those.
- Locking up or sudden but unexpected rebooting could be memory problems. See reseating ram and run a memory test by typing mdsched.exe in the Windows Run or Search box.
- Sometimes seemly operating system problems are actually caused applications. If the problem is consistent only when you are in a certain application, try repairing or reinstalling but first run a disk check!